© Helvellyn Consulting 2023
Lance Corporal Albert Edward Potts
Westmorland and Cumberland Yeomanry, 315353 - Queens Own Oxford Hussars, P16433 - Military Mounted Police
Born c. Jan 1894, Warwick Bridge. Died Dec 1956, Aged 61 Carlisle
Son of Sarah A Potts
Adopted Son of George M and Nancy (nee Rutter) Bugbee
Player for Ullswater Football Club
Albert Edwards Potts was born around the start of 1894 in Warwick Bridge, near Carlisle in Cumbria. We believe his mother was Sarah A Potts, who was the daughter of William and Ann Potts from Carlisle. We can only suppose that Albert was illegitimate and, as was often the custom in those days, was given up for adoption. By We know that by 1901 he had been adopted by George and Nancy Bugbee. At that time the Bugbee family was living in Little Salkeld where George was listed as a “domestic coachman”. The Bugbees already had 5 children (Robert, Samuel, Sarah Elizabeth, Mary Eleanor and Margaret Ann). They were all a lot older than Albert and by 1901 only 25 year old Sarah Elizabeth was still at home with her parents and Albert.
We know that sadly in 1907 Albert’s adoptive mother Nancy died, and by 1911 Albert himself had left home and was working as a Shepherd on a Farm in Kirkoswald.
We know that Albert was also a member of the Patterdale Football Team, and and was part of the squad of Ullswater Rovers Football Club when they triumphed in the replay against Appleby in the Penrith and District Cup of April 1914, which Ullswater won 3-
Albert has first signed up with the territorial army in May 1912, joining the Westmorland and Cumberland Yeomanry. Alongside many of his team mates from the Ullswater Football Club he then signed on soon after war was declared, attesting on the 21st September 1914 in Penrith. He was sent to France on 10th July 1915. Unfortunately despite having copies of Albert’s service record we are unsure exactly where he saw action, although we do know he was in France from his arrival in 1915 until his demobilisation in 1919. He was certainly initially serving with C Squadron of the 1/1 Westmorland & Cumberland Yeomanry -
At some point he transferred into the Queens Own Oxford Hussars, the regiment that Sir Winston Churchill joined in 1902, and supported throughout his life. In fact Winston’s younger brother Jack was a serving officer in the regiment during the war. We know that on 23rd July 1918 Albert was still serving with the Queens Own Oxford Hussars but that on the 13th October 1918 he transferred to the Military Mounted Police, being promoted to Lance Corporal, as was usual on joining the military police. Alongside their colleagues in the Military Foot Police (which numbered some Patterdale men such as Richard Brown in its number), the MFP performed a vital role in the war. By 1918 there was a total of 15,000 Military policemen in the army, roughly a ratio of one for every 300 men in the army. When was had been declared the ratio was nearer one in three thousand.
By the end of the war Albert was stationed in Germany, where he was medically examined on the 14th July 1919 before being finally discharged in Aldershot, or “Disembodied on Demobilisation" as his service record rather oddly puts it, on 16th August 1919. His address at the time was given as Little Salkeld, Langwathby, Carlisle -
After the war we have so far been unable to trace any of Albert’s life until his death in December 1956 in Carlisle. We know that Albert’s adoptive father George died in Carlisle in June 1928. In terms of the other siblings from his adopted family we know Margaret Ann married John Graham, had a large family and died in January 1957 in Harker. Sarah Elizabeth Bugbee, who was living with Albert and her parents in 1901 married Joseph Little on 18th November 1903. This presents the intriguing prospect that it was this Sarah who was in fact Albert’s mother, although it doesn’t explain why his surname was listed as Potts, and it may just be a coincidence that she married someone called Little. Perhaps we shall never know.
We were contacted in October 2023 by Richard Halliday, a relative of Alberts, who provided the following information:
“The reference to Bella Gardens in your account intrigued me as I knew that John and Margaret Ann Graham eventually lived in a cottage probably called Belah (spoken as “Bee – lar”) in Harker. As far as I know John had been a market gardener and one of his sons continued as a market gardener on a site near “Belah” in Stanwix, Carlisle until at least the 1950s. Looking yesterday at a record I had not previously seen, Carlisle Housing Census 1917 , it seems that there was a single family of 11 with the head being J Graham, a gardener, living at Belah Gardens in Stanwix (apparently somewhere between or near Eden Street and Garden Street). I think that it is reasonable to assume that “Bella” and “Belah” Gardens are one and the same and so an intriguing, continuing, and strengthened link with the Bugbees (Margaret Ann, as you know, having married John Graham).
From transcriptions I made some time ago:
The 1939 Register has an Albert Potts, a Coal Agent, born 9 December 1894 living at 7 Hobart Terrace, Kingmoor.
I have some information on siblings from his adoptive family, and am confident that from the John Graham/ Margaret Ann Busbee marriage 10 children survived to at least the age of 60.
Interestingly one of John Graham’s sons married an Ireland whose mother had been a Potts and had at least two children before she married (and she was apparently in a line going back to a James Potts in Cummertrees in the 1830s.”
If you can add anything to the story of Albert or his family please contact us.
The Ullswater Rovers Football Team in 1914. Albert is in the middle row on the left as you look at the photo in the suit, next to Alfred Herd, and William Stockdale who has the cup. The other team members are named on our Ullswater Football Team page.
The conditions of service that Albert signed up to in 1912 when he joined the territorials.